Meet LUMES Alumni Sophia Speckhahn and Annabel Schickner (batch 19)
LUMES alumni Sophia Speckhahn and Annabel Schickner from batch 19 visited LUMES to share their stories about life after LUMES, from graduation to getting their first jobs. Today they are both working with sustainability within different sectors in Germany. Find out what they think are the most important skills they gained from the LUMEs programme and what career advice they have for future LUMES graduates.
Sophia Speckhahn (Batch 19), Project Manager at WWF Germany
When Sophia graduated in 2017, she found the transition to professional life quite lonely, and missed the community at LUMES. But in her new profession as a project manager at WWF– working with youth and education – she soon found a new community full of life and activities.
– "In my work as a project manager I develop and manage educational activities related to sustainable development and societal transformation processes. I am also involved in the international activities of WWF's education and youth work. I plan and facilitate different events, such as a sustainability festival, trainings and workshops."
What skills did you get from the LUMES programme?
LUMES provides you with an overview of a range of sustainability issues, you don’t become an expert in a certain issue, but you get a wide understanding of sustainability and are able to understand causal relationships, connect the dots and see the bigger picture. You also learn to be critical and reflect on different sustainability issues from different angles. The unique group spirit with wonderful individuals from diverse countries and backgrounds allow for a change in perspective and make you rethink priorities and challenge your perceptions of the world around you.
How are these skills important for your work today?
I’m working with young people who are often very critical and want answers to their questions and requests. I can help them develop this critical thinking and make them understand the complexity of things while giving them a broader understanding of sustainability issues in practice and empower them to take action. I also benefit from the experience with international and diverse working groups and got more sensitive to group dynamics which is valuable in working with students as well as other professionals.
What career advice do you have for LUMES students?
Be open to different opportunities, career pathways and jobs, but be true to yourself and what matters to you. Stay connected to the LUMES network, other alumni can be very valuable, both personally and professionally, when finding a job and during your career.
Annabel Schickner (batch 19), Sustainability consultancy at the consultancy company akzente in Berlin
Annabel has a bachelor in European studies and imagined herself working within the EU before she started the LUMES programme. Today she’s very glad she took another professional path and that she got to work in a smaller company, where she feels she has the ability to make a greater local impact.
At the LUMES programme I learned that you have to think global and act local.
For Annabel, it was not a direct path to her current job, but quite a bumpy road. After graduating she joined the EIT Climate-KIC Summer School. After a very intense summer, she took some time off traveling.
Afterwards Annabel started looking for a job and soon secured an internship at GIZ, the German national development agency, where she was working on climate and disaster risk finance and insurance. During her internship she started to apply for jobs, and in autumn 2018, she started working at a sustainability consultancy, where she advises companies and organisations on how to be more sustainable.
– "In my job as a sustainability consultant I write the sustainability reports for companies and provide them with strategies on how to improve on sustainability issues and how to communicate on their work".
What were the most important skills you gained from the LUMES programme?
Besides the actual knowledge in sustainability and the systems thinking, the most valuable skill I got from the LUMES programme is the ability to work together with people from different disciplines, backgrounds and nationalities.
How are these skills important for your work today?
For me as a consultant, it is important to have a broad knowledge of sustainability since I work with companies from many different sectors. Teamwork is also important in my job – which is something I really got to practice in the LUMES programme.
What advice do you have for current LUMES students?
What you learn at LUMES is about so much more than getting a job, you learn for life. Don’t worry too much about what will happen after graduation. Enjoy your studies while you are here. The two years at LUMES was the best years of my life. I never learned so much in such a short time.
What is your dream job?
I can’t actually imagine a better job at the moment. I think I already have my dream job for now.
Progect Manager at WWF Germany
Connect with Sophia on Linkedin
Sophia recently published a paper together with LUCSUS researcher Ellinor Isgren in Journal of Political Ecology based on her master thesis.
The irresistible solution: rationale and risks of extending water limits through desalination in the case of Gotland, Sweden
Sustainability consultancy at the consultancy company akzente in Berlin, Germany